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146 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1868.
Basin of the Nile, by Dr. G. Schweinfurth. Map of the Balkash
Lake, &c, by Babkow and Golubew. All presented by A. Peter-
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales and suite honoured the meeting with their
attendance, and remained to the end of the discussion.
The President opened the meeting by saying that, before the paper was
read, he was sure the Fellows of the Society would feel that it was the duty
of their President to express the sincere gratification of the meeting that their
Vice-Patron the Prince of Wales had been pleased to honour them with his
presence. As a veteran in the pursuits of science he well remembered what
real interest the lamented Prince Consort took in attending scientific meetings,
and how justly he appreciated the importance of the discussions which arose at
them. It was most gratifying therefore to find the Prince of Wales treading
in the footsteps of his illustrious father. The presence of his Eoyal Highness
at one of their ordinary meetings was not inappropriate, inasmuch as he had
himself travelled more extensively than any former heir to the crown of Eng-
land, and they might feel certain that he has formed a high estimate of that
predominant feature in our national character, the keen desire to explore
distant lands. As geographers they might feel proud that another son of our
beloved Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, already enrolled as one of their
honorary members, was making the grand tour of the British colonies, and
would have seen, when he happily returned, more of the earth's surface than
the great majority of practised travellers.
The following Paper was read : —
Beport on the Trans-Himalayan Explorations, in connexion with the
Great Trigonometrical Survey of India, during 1865-7 : Route-Survey
made by Pundit , from Nepal to Lhasa, and thence through the
upper valley of the Brahmaputra to its Source. By Captain T. G.
MONTGOMERIE, E.E., F.E.G.S.
A European, even if disguised, attracts attention when travelling
among Asiatics, and his presence, if detected, is now-a-days often
apt to lead to outrage. The difficulty of redressing such outrages,
and various other causes, have, for the present, all but put a stop to
exploration by Europeans. On the other hand, Asiatics, the subjects
of the British Government, are known to travel freely without
molestation in countries far beyond the British frontier ; they
constantly pass to and fro between India and Central Asia, and
also between India and Tibet, for trading and other purposes,
without exciting any suspicion.
In 1861 it was consequently proposed to take advantage of this
facility possessed by Asiatics, and to employ them on explorations
beyond the frontier. The Government of India approved of the
project, and agreed to support it liberally.
With a view to carry out the above, Colonel Walker, the Superin-
tendent of the Survey, engaged two Pundits, Britis-h subjects, from
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 147
one of the upper valleys of the Himalayas. Such promising recruits
having been secured, they were at once sent to the head-quarters of
the Great Trigonometrical Survey, in order to be, trained for Trans-
On Colonel Walker's departure for England, these Pundits were
put under Captain Montgomerie, who completed their training.
They were found to be very intelligent, and rapidly learnt the use
of the sextant, compass, &c, and before long recognised all the
larger stars without any difficulty. Their work, from actual practice,
having been found to be satisfactory, Captain Montgomerie directed
them to make a route-survey from the Mansarowar Lake to Lhasa,
along the great road that was known to exist between Gartokh and
Lhasa. From Lhasa, they were directed to return by a more
northerly route to Mansarowar. The route to Lhasa was selected
by Captain Montgomerie, because it was known, from native in-
formation, to be practicable as far as the road itself was concerned.
If explored, it was likely to define the whole course of the great
river known to flow from near the Mansarowar Lake to beyond
Lhasa. Hitherto the sole point on the upper course of this great
river, the position of which was known with any certainty, was
a point near Teshooloomboo, or Shigatze, as determined by Captain
Turner in 1783. The position of Lhasa, the capital of Great Tibet,
was, moreover, only a matter of guess, the most probable determina-
tion having been derived from native information as to the marches
between Turner's Teshooloomboo and Lhasa. In fact, the route
from the Mansarowar Lake to Lhasa, an estimated distance of 700
or 800 miles, was alone a capital field for exploration.
An attempt was made by the Pundits to advance direct from
Kumaon, via Mansarowar, to Lhasa, but they did not find it
practicable. The attempt by the Mansarowar Lake having failed,
it appeared to Captain Montgomerie that the best chance of reaching
Lhasa would be through Nepal, as the Nepalese Government has
always maintained relations of some kind with the Government of
Lhasa. Traders from Nepal, moreover, were known to visit Lhasa,
and Lhasa traders to visit Nepal.
The Pundits were consequently ordered to go to'Kathmandu, and
from thence to try and make their way to the great road between
the Mansarowar and Lhasa. Their instrumental equipment con-
sisted of 2 large sextants,* 2 box sextants, prismatic and pocket
compasses, thermometers for observing temperature of air and of
boiling water, pocket chronometer, and common watch, with appa-
ratus, the latter reduced as much as possible.
* Only one large sextant was taken to Lhasa.
148 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1868.
The Pundits started from Dehra, reached Moradabad on the 12th
January, and Bareilly on the 23rd January, 1865. They crossed
the Nepalese frontier at Nepalgunj, Jung Bahadur's new town, and
from thence went by the Cheesaghurri road to Kathmandu, reaching
the latter place on the 7th March, 1865.
In Kathmandu they made inquiries on all sides as to the best
route to Lhasa ; they found that the direct one by Kuti (or N ilum),
across the Dingri plain (or Tingri Maidan, as it is called), was likely
to be very difficult, if not impassable, owing to the snow at that
early season (March, April). They consequently determined to try
the route by Kirong, a small town in the Lhasa territory, as that
route was said to be passable earlier than the Kuti route. Having
made their arrangements, the Pundits started full of hope on the
20th March, 1865, accompanied by four men, whom they had hired
On the 26th they reached Medangpodo village, and here they
changed their mode of dress to one better known to the people of
Lhasa. They also gave out that they were Bisahiris,* and were
going to buy horses, at the same time to do homage at the Lhasa
shrine. The character of Bisahiris was assumed because they knew
that those people had from time immemorial been privileged to
travel in the Lhasa territory without question. On the 28th March
they reached the neighbourhood of Kirong, but, much to their dis-
appointment, they were stopped by the Chinese officials, who
questioned them as to the object of their journey, and searched their
baggage. Fortunately the instruments (which had been ingeniously
secreted in a false compartment of a box) escaped detection ; but
still, though nothing suspicious was seen, the plausible reasons
given for the journey did not satisfy the jealousy of the Chinese
authorities. In spite of everything urged, they were not allowed
to pass until a reference had been made to the Kirong governor.
The Kirong governor seems at once to have noted the weak points
of their story, and having pointed them out with inexorable logic,
declined to let them pass on any consideration ; they were therefore
reluctantly forced to retrace their steps to Shabru. At Shabril the
wily Pundit managed to persuade a high official that they were no
impostors, and induced him, moreover, to certify that in a letter to
the Kirong governor. Armed with this letter, they returned towards
Kirong, with hopes of better luck, and no doubt, under ordinary
circumstances, would have succeeded ; but on the road they fortu-
nately discovered that the Kirong governor was an individual who
* From the British valley of that name north-east of Simla.
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 149
had known the Pundit's brother personally, when he was chief of
Taglakote, near Mansarowar ; his brother had in fact been frequently
in close and friendly relations with him. This at once put a stop
to all hopes of his advancing by the Kirong route, as the governor
well knew he was no Bisahiri. The other Pundit thought of pro-
ceeding by himself, but, being able to devise no feasible method, he
gave up the idea, and the party consequently marched back, reaching
Kathmandu on the 10th April. Here they made fresh inquiries as
to some more promising way of getting to Lhasa. At last they heard
of two opportunities, the first by accompanying the camp of a new
agent (vakeel) that Jung Bahadur was about to send to Lhasa, and
the second by accompanying a Bhot merchant. In order to increase
their chances of success, they decided that one should go with the
Nepal agent, and the other with the merchant. The vakeel at
first agreed to take one of them with him, but ultimately refused.
Failing with the vakeel, it was impossible for the Pundit, who
was known to the Kirong governor, to go with the Bhot merchant,
as he intended to take the Kirong route ; he consequently decided
to try a more circuitous route, by Muktinath, but in this he failed,
owing, according to his own account, to loss of health and the unsafe
state of the roads, but, no doubt, in a great measure due to his
own want of determination. After a long journey through the upper
parts of the Nepal territory, he returned to British territory. The
account of his proceedings is referred to separately. The other
Pundit, at first, was not much more successful with the merchant
than his brother had been with the vakeel. The merchant, Dawa
Nangal, promised to take the Pundit to Lhasa, and on the strength
of that proceeded to borrow money from him. The merchant,
however, put off starting from day to day, and eventually the Pundit
had to start with one of the merchant's servants, the merchant
himself promising to follow in a few days. The Pundit assumed
the dress of a Ladaki, and, to complete his disguise, added a pig- tail
to his head. This change was made because he was afraid that the
Kirong officials who stopped him the first time might recognise him
By this means he reached Tadum monastery, a well-known
halting-place on the great road between Lhasa and Gartokh. Start-
ing on the 13th August from Kirong, he reached Lue on the 23rd.
From Kathmandu up to this point vegetation and jungle had been
abundant, but, beyond, the mountains were throughout bare and all
On the 24th August the Pundit joined a large trading party,
travelling via Tadum to Mansarowar, and was allowed to accompany
150 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1808.
them. On the 30th he reached Talla Labron, and there first caught
sight of the great river* that flows towards Lhasa. His first
acquaintance with this river was calculated to inspire him with
respect for it, as three men were drowned in front of him by the
swamping of a ferry-boat. Alarmed by this occurrence, the party
marched a short distance farther up the river to a better ferry, by
which they crossed in safety to the Tadum monastery on the 6th of
September. At Tadum the Pundit feigned sickness as a reason for
not going on to Mansarowar, and he was accordingly left behind.
Continuing to feign illness, he at last found an admirable oppor-
tunity of going to Lhasa, viz., by accompanying a Ladak merchant
in the employ of the Kashmir Maharaja, who was that year going to
Lhasa, and was to pass through Tadum. On the 2nd of October
the merchants' head man, Chi ring Nirpal, arrived, and on hearing
the Pundit's story, at once consented to take him on to Lhasa.
Starting on the next morning with the Ladaki camp, he marched
eastward along the great road, reaching the town of Sarkajong on
the 8th October. So far everything had gone smoothly, but here the
inquiries made by the authorities rather alarmed the Pundit, and as
his funds, owing to the great delays, had begun to run short, the
two combined made him very uneasy. However, he manfully
resolved to continue his journey. He became a great favourite with
Chiring Kirpal and the whole of the Ladaki camp. On the 19th
October they reached Ealang. Prom Tadum to this point no
cultivation was seen, but here there was a little, and a few willow-
trees, and onwards to Lhasa cultivation was met with "nearly every
On the 29th October they reached Digarcha, or Shigatze, a large
town on the Penanangchu Eiver near its junction with the great
Narichu Eiver. The only incident during their long stay there was
a visit that he and the Ladakis paid to the great Tashilumbo
monastery. This monastery lies about half a mile south-west of
the city, and is the same as that visited and fully described by
Turner. The Pundit would rather not have paid the Lama a visit,
but he thought it imprudent to refuse, and therefore joined the
Ladakis, who were going to pay their respects to him. The Pundit
confesses that, though personally a follower of Brahma, the proposed
visit rather frightened him, as, according to the religion of his
ancestors, who were Budhists, the Lama ought to know the secrets
of all hearts. However, putting a bold face on the matter, he went,
and was much relieved to find that the Lama, a boy of 11, only
* The Brahmaputra.
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 151
asked him three simple questions, and was, according to the Pundit,
nothing more than an ordinary child, and did not evince any extra
intelligence. At Shigatze the Pundit took to teaching Nepalese
shopkeepers the Hindoo method of calculation, and therehy earned
a few rupees.
The great road, which had hitherto been more or less close to the
great Narichu Eiver, from Shig&tze goes considerably south of that
river. On the 26th December they reached the large town of
Gyangze, on the Penanangchu Eiver, which was then frozen hard
enough to bear men. Crossing the lofty Kharola mountains,
they arrived on the 31st December at Nang-ganchejong, a village
on the Yamdokcho Lake, with the usual fort on a small hill.
For two days the Pundit coasted along the Great Yamdokcho
Lake.* On the second day he nearly fell a prey to a band
of robbers, but, being on horseback,f he managed to escape, and
on the 2nd January reached Demalang, a village at the northern
angle of the lake. Prom Demalang the lake was seen to stretch
some 20 miles to the south-east. The Pundit estimated the circum-
ference of the lake to be 45 miles, but, as far as he saw, it was only
2 to 3 miles in width. He was informed that the lake encircled
a large island, which rises into low rounded hills 2000 or 3000 feet
above the surface of the lake. These hills were covered with grass
up to the top. Between the hills and the margin of the lake several
villages and a white monastery were visible on the island. The
villagers keep up their communication with the mainland by means
of boats. The Pundit was told that the lake had no outlet, but, as
he says its water was perfectly fresh, that is probably a mistake ;
if so, the Pundit thinks the outlet may be on the eastern side, where
the mountains appeared to be not quite so high as those on the
other sides. The evidence as to the lake encircling a very large
island is unanimous. Almost all former maps, whether derived
from the Chinese maps made by the Lamas, or from native in-
formation collected in Hindustan, agree in giving the island a very
large area, as compared with the lake in which it stands. This is,
however, a very curious topographical feature, and as no similar
case is known to exist elsewhere, it might perhaps be rash to take
it for granted, until some reliable person has actually made the
circuit of the lake. Meantime the Pundit's survey goes a consider-
able way to confirm the received theory. The lake, from the
Pundit's observations, appears to be about 13,500 feet above the sea ;
* The margin of the lake was frozen.
t With reference to this, the Pandit, on being questioned, said that the paces of
this portion, and of one or two other parts, were counted on his return journey.
152 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1868.
it contains quantities of fist. The water was very clear, and said
to be very deep.
The island in the centre must rise to 16,000 feet above the sea, an
altitude at which coarse grass is found in most parts of Tibet.
Prom the basin of the Yamdokcho Lake the party crossed over the
Khambala mountains by a high pass, reaching the great Narichu
(the Brahmaputra) at Khambabarche ; from thence they descended
the river in boats to Chusul village. Near Chusul they again left the
great river, and ascending its tributary, the Kichu Sangpo or Lhasa
Eiver, in a north-easterly direction reached Lhasa on the 10th of
The Pundit took up his abode in a sort of caravanserai with a
very long name, belonging to the Tashilumbo monastery ; he hired
two rooms that he thought well suited for taking observations to
stars, &c, without being noticed. Here he remained till the 21st
of April, 1866. On one occasion he paid a visit to the Golden
Monastery, two marches up the great road to China, which runs
from Lhasa in a north-easterly direction. He also attempted to
go down the Brahmaputra, but was told that it was impossible
without a well-armed party of a dozen at least. His funds being
low, he was obliged to give up the idea, and indeed, judging from
all accounts, doubted if he could have done it with funds. The
Pundit's account of the city of Lhasa agrees, in the main, with
what has been written in Messrs. Hue and Gabet's book as to that
extraordinary capital, which the Pundit found to be about 11,400
feet above the sea. He particularly dwells upon the great number,
size, and magnificence of the various monasteries, and the vast
number of monks, &c, serving in them.
Having been so long away, the Pundit's funds had arrived at a
very low ebb, and he was obliged to make his livelihood by teach-
ing Nepalese merchants the Hindoo method of accounts. By this
means he got a little more money, but the merchants, not being
quite so liberal as those of Shigatze, chiefly remunerated him by
small presents of butter and food, on which he managed to subsist.
During his stay in Lhasa the Pundit seems to have been unmolested,
and his account of himself was only once called in question. On
that occasion two Mahomedans of Kashmiri descent managed to
penetrate his disguise, and made him confess his secret. However,
the} 7 kept it faithfully, and assisted the poor Pundit with a small
loan, on the security of his watch. On another occasion the Pundit
was surprised to see the Kirong governor in the streets of Lhasa.
This was the same official that had made so much difficulty about
letting him pass Kirong; and as the Pundit had (through Chung
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 153
CM) agreed to forfeit his life if, after passing Kirong, he went to
Lhasa, his alarm may easily he imagined. Just ahout the same
time the Pundit saw the summary way in which treachery was dealt
with in Lhasa : a Chinaman, who had raised a quarrel between two
monasteries, was taken out and beheaded without the slightest
compunction. All these things combined alarmed the Pundit so
much that he changed his residence, and from that time seldom
appeared in public.
Early in April the Pundit heard that his Ladaki friends were
about to return to Laclak with the tea, &c, that they had purchased.
He forthwith waited on the Lopchak, and was, much to his delight,
not only allowed to return with him, but was told tbat he would
be well cared for, and his expenses paid en route, and that they
need not be repaid till he reached Mansarowar. The Pundit, in
fact, was a favourite with all who came in contact with him.
On the 21st April he left Lhasa with the Ladaki party, and
marching back by the great road as before, reached Tadiim monastery
on the 1st of June.
From Tadiim he followed the great road to Mansarowar, passing
over a very elevated tract of country from 14,000 to 16,000 feet above
the sea, inhabited solely by nomadic people, who possess large
flocks and herds of sheep, goats, and yaks. On the road his servant
fell ill, but his Ladaki companions assisted him in his work, and he
was able to carry it on. Crossing the Mariam-La mountains, the
watershed between the Brahmaputra and the Sutlej, he reached
Darchan, between the Mansarowar and tbe Eakas Tal, on the 17th
of June. Here he met a trader from British territory who knew
him, and at once enabled him to pay all his debts, except the loan
on his watch, which was in the hands of one of the Ladakis. He
asked his friends to leave the watch at Gartokh till he redeemed it.
At Darchan the Pundit and his Ladaki companions parted with
mutual regret ; the Ladakis going north towards Gartokh, and the
Pundit marching towards the nearest pass to the British territory,
accompanied by two sons of the man who had paid his debts.
The Pundit's servant, a faithful man from Z&skar in Ladak, who
had stuck to him through the journey, being ill, remained behind.
He answered as a sort of security for the Pundit, who promised to
send for him, and at the same time to pay all the money that had
been advanced. Leaving Darchan on the 20th June, the Pundit
reached Thajung on the 23rd, and here he was much astonished to
find even the low hills covered with snow in a way he had never
seen before. The fact being that he was approaching the outer
Himalayan chain, and the ground he was on (though lower than
154 ROUTE-SUKVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1808.
muck of the country he had crossed earlier in the season) was close
■enoragh to the outer range to get the full benefit of the moisture
from the Hindustan side. The snow rendered the route he meant
to take impracticable, and he had to make a great detour. After an
•adventure with the Bhotiyas, from whom he escaped with difficulty,
he finally crossed the Himalayan range on the 26th June, and thence
descended into British territory after an absence of 18 months. As
•soon after his arrival as possible, the Pundit sent back two men to
Darchan, with money to pay his debts, and directions to bring back
his servant. This was done, and the servant arrived all safe, and
in good health.
The Pundit met his brother, who, failing to make his way to
Lhasa, had returned by a lower road through the Nepalese terri-
tory. This brother had been told to penetrate into Tibet, and, if
possible, to assist the Pundit. The snow had, however, prevented
him from starting. He was now, at the Pundit's request, sent to
Ctartokh to redeem the watch, and to carry on a route-survey to
that place. The Pundit handed over his sextant, and told him
to connect his route with the point where the Bhotiyas had made
the Pundit leave off. The brother succeeded in reaching G-artokh,
redeemed the watch, and after making a route-survey from the
British territories to Gartokh and back, he rejoined the Pundit, and
they both reached the head-quarters of the Survey on the 27th of
During the regular survey of Ladak, Captain Montgomerie had
noticed that the Tibetans always made use of the rosary and prayer-
wheel,* he consequently recommended the Pundit to carry both
with him, partly because the character of a Budhist was the most
appropriate to assume in Tibet, but, still more, because it was
thought that these ritualistic instruments would (with a little
adaptation) form very useful adjuncts in carrying on the route-
It was necessary that the Pundit should be able to take his com-
pass bearings unobserved, and also that, when counting his paces,
he should not be interrupted by having to answer questions. The
Pundit found the best way of effecting those objects was to march
separate, with his servant either behind or in front of the rest of the
camp. It was of course not always possible to effect this, nor could
strangers be altogether avoided. Whenever people did come up to
the Pundit, the sight of his prayer-wheel was generally sufficient
to prevent them from addressing him. When he saw any one
* The mani-chuskor, or prayer-wheel.
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 155
approaching, he at once began to whirl his prayer -wheel round, and
as all good Budhists whilst doing that are supposed to be absorbed
in religious contemplation, he was very seldom interrupted.
The prayer-wheel consists of a hollow cylindrical copper box,
which revolves round a spindle, one end of which forms the handle.
The cylinder is turned by means of a piece of copper attached by a
string. A slight twist of the hand makes the cylinder revolve, and
each revolution represents one repetition of the prayer, which is
written on a scroll kept inside the cylinder.* The prayer-wheels
are of all sizes, from that of a barrel downwards ; but those carried
in the hand are generally four or six inches in height by about three
inches in diameter, with a handle projecting about four inches
below the bottom of the cylinder. The one used by the Pundit
was an ordinary hand one, but instead of carrying a paper scroll
with the usual Budhist prayer " Om inani padmi hoiri," the cylinder
had inside it long slips of paper, for the purpose of recording the
bearings and number of paces, &c. The. top of the cylinder was
made loose enough to allow the paper to be taken out when re-
The rosary, which ought to have 108 beads, was made of 100
beads, every tenth bead being much larger than the others. The
small beads were made of a red composition to imitate coral, the
large ones of the dark corrugated seeds of the udras. The rosary
was carried in the left sleeve ; at every hundredth pace a bead was
dropped, and each large bead dropped, consequently, represented
2000 paces. With his prayer-wheel f and rosary the Pundit always
managed one way or another to take his bearings and to count his
The latitude observations were a greater difficulty than the route-
survey. The Pundit required to observe unseen by any one except
his servant ; however, with his assistance, and by means of various
pretences, the Pundit did manage to observe at thirty-one different
places. The Pundit had invested in a wooden bowl,f such as is
carried at the waist by all Bhotiyas. This bowl is used by the
Bhotiyas for drinking purposes ; in it they put their water, tea,
* This prayer is sometimes engraved on the exterior of the wheel.
t The Pundit found this prayer-wheel free of all examination by custom-house
or other officials. In order to take full advantage of this immunity, several copper
prayer-wheels have been made up in the workshop of the Survey, fitted for com-
passes, &c. : these will be described hereafter.
J The Tibetans are very curious as to these drinking bowls or cups ; they are
made by hollowing out a piece of hard wood, those made from knots of trees being
more especially valued. A good bowl is often bound with silver. The wood
from which they are made does not grow in Tibet, and the cups consequently sell
for large amounts.
156 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1868.
broth, and spirits, and in it they make their stirabout with dry flour
and water, when they see no chance of getting anything better. The
Pundit, in addition, found this bowl answer capitally for his quick-
silver, as its deep Bides prevented the wind from acting readily on
the surface. Quicksilver is a difficult thing to carry, but the Pundit
managed to carry his safely nearly all the way to Lhasa, by putting
some into a cocoa-nut, and by carrying a reserve in cowrie-shells
closed with wax. At Piahtejong, however, the whole of his quick-
silver escaped by some accident ; fortunately he was not far from
Lhasa, where he was able to purchase more. The whole of his
altitudes were taken with the quicksilver.
Reading the sextant at night without exciting remark was by no
means easy. At first a common bull's-eye lantern answered capitally,
but it was seen and admired by some of the curious officials at the
Tadiim monastery, and the Pundit, who said he had brought it for
sale, was forced to part with it, in order to avoid suspicion. Prom
Tadum onwards a common oil-wick was the only thing to be got.
The wind often prevented the use of it, and, as it was difficult to
hide, the Pundit was at some of the smaller places obliged to take
his night observation, and then put his instrument carefully by,
and not read it till the next morning ; but at most places, includ-
ing all the more important ones, he was able to read his instrument
immediately after taking his observations.
The results of the expedition delivered at the head-quarters con-
sist of —
1st. — A great number of meridian altitudes of the sun and stars,
taken for latitude at thirty-one different points, including a number
of observations at Lhasa, Tashilumbo, and other important places.
2nd. — An elaborate route-survey, extending over 1200 miles, de-
fining the road from Kathmandu to Tadum, and the whole of the
Great Tibetan road from Lhasa to Gartokh, fixing generally the
whole course of the great Brahmaputra River, from its source near
Mansarowar to the point where it is joined by the stream on which
3rd. — Observations of the temperature of the air and boiling
water, by which the heights of thirty-three points have been deter-
mined, also a still greater number of observations of temperature,
taken at Shigatze, Lhasa, &c, giving some idea of the climate of
4th. — Notes as to what was seen, and as to the information
gathered during the expedition.
The latitude observations were taken with a large sextant of
6-inch radius, and have been reduced in the Computing Office of
Makcb 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 157
the Survey. There is no doubt but that the Pundit is a most ex-
cellent and trustworthy observer. In order to see this it is only
necessary to look at the accompanying list.
Between the Mansarowar Lake and Lhasa the Pundit travelled by
the great road called the Johng-lam * (or Whor-lam), by means of
which the Chinese officials keep up their communications, for 800 miles
along the top of the Himalayan range ; from Lhasa, north of Assam,
to Gartokh, north-east of Simla. A separate memorandum is given
hereafter as to the stages, &c, on this extraordinary road. Starting
from Gartokh on the Indus, at 15,500 feet above the sea, the road
crosses the Kailas range by a very high pass, descends to about
15,000 feet in Nari Khorsum, the upper basin of the Sutlej, and
then coasting along the Eakas Tal, the Mansarowar, and another
long lake, rises gradually to the Mariham-la Pass, the watershed
between the Sutlej and Brahmaputra, 15,500 feet above the sea.
Prom the Mariham-la the road descends gradually, following close
to the north of the main source of the Brahmaputra, and within
sight of the gigantic glaciers, which give rise to that great river.
About 50 miles from its source the road is for the first time actually
on the river, but from that point to Tadum it adheres very closely
to the left bank. Just before reaching Tadum the road crosses a
great tributary, little inferior to the main river itself. The Tadum
monastery is about 14,200 feet above the sea.
In many parts there appears to have been considerable danger of
losing the road in the open stretches of the table-land, the whole
surface looking very much like a road ; but this danger is guarded
against by the frequent erection of piles of stones, surmounted with
flags on sticks, &c. These piles, called lapcha by the Tibetans,
were found exceedingly handy for the survey; the quick eye of
the Pundit generally caught the forward pile, and even if he did not,
he was sure to see the one behind, and in this way generally
secured a capital object on which to take his compass bearings. The
Tibetans look upon these piles partly as guide-posts, and partly as
objects of veneration ; travellers generally contribute a stone to
them as they pass, or, if very devout and generous, add a piece of
rag ; consequently, on a well-used road, these piles grow to a great
size, and form conspicuous objects in the landscape. Over the table-
land the road is broad and wide enough to allow several travellers
to go abreast ; in the rougher portions the road generally consists
of two or three narrow paths, the width worn by horses, yaks, men,
&c, following one another. In two or three places these dwindle
down to a single track, but are always passable by a horseman, and,
* Lam means road in the Tibetan language.
158 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 18G8.
indeed, only in one place, near Phuncholing, is there any difficulty
about laden animals. A man on horseback need never dismount
between Lhasa and Gartokh, except to cross the rivers.
The road is, in fact, a wonderfully well maintained one, con-
sidering the very elevated and desolate mountains over which it is
carried. Between Lhasa and Gartokh there are twenty-two staging
places, called Tarjums, where the baggage-animals are changed.
These Tarjums are from 20 to 70 miles apart ; at each, shelter is to
be had, and efficient arrangements are organised for forwarding
officials and messengers. Each Tarjum is in charge of an official,
called Tarjumpa, who is obliged to have horses, yaks, and coolies in
attendance whenever notice is received of the approach of a Lhasa
official. Prom ten to fifteen horses, and as many men, are always
in attendance night and day. Horses and beasts of burden (yaks
in the higher ground, donkeys in the lower) are forthcoming in
great numbers when required ; they are supplied by the nomadic
tribes, whose camps are pitched near the halting-houses.
Though the iron rule of the Lhasa authorities keeps this high
road in order, the difficulties and hardships of the Pundit's march
along it cannot be fully realised, without bearing in mind the great
elevation at which the road is carried. Between the Mansarowar
Lake and the Tadiim monastery the average height of the road above
the sea must be over 15,000 feet, or about the height of Mont Blanc.
Between Tadiim and Lhasa its average height is 13,500 feet ; and
only for one stage does the road descend so low as 11,000 feet,
whilst on several passes it rises to more than 16,000 feet above the
sea. Ordinary travellers with laden animals make two to five
marches between the staging-houses, and only special messengers
go from one staging-house to another without halting. Between
the stagirig-houses the Pundit had to sleep in a rude tent that
freely admitted the biting Tibetan wind, and on some occasions he
had to sleep in the open air.
Bearing in mind that the greater part of this march was made;
in mid-winter, it will be allowed that the Pundit has performed a
feat of which a native of Hindustan, or any other country, may well
From the Mansarowar Lake to Tadiim (140 miles) glaciers seem
always to have been visible to the south, but nothing very high
was seen to the north ; for the next 70 miles the mountains north
and south seem to have been lower, but further eastward a very high
snowy range was visible to the north,* running for 120 miles parallel
* With a very high peak at its western extremity, called Harkiar.g. A very
high peak was also noticed to the south, between the Kaka and Brahmaputra
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 159
to the Baka Sangpo Eiver. From Janglache to Gyangze the Pundit
seems to have seen nothing high, hut he notices a very large glacier
hetween the Pennang Valley and the Yamdokcho Lake.
From the lofty Khamha-la Pass the Pundit got a capital view.
Looking south he could see over the island in the Yamdokcho Lake,
and made out a very high range to the south of the lake ; the
mountains to the east of the lake did not appear to be quite so high.
Looking north, the Pundit had a clear view over the Brahmaputra ;
hut all the mountains in that direction were, comparatively speaking,
low, and in no way remarkable.
About Lhasa no very high mountains were seen, and those
visible appeared to be all about the same altitude. Hardly any
snow was visible from the city, even in winter.
Extracts from the Pundit's Diary.
" Jan. 26th, 1866.— Eeached Lhasa. It was my wish now to
follow the course of the Brahmaputra Eiver, but I was informed
that unless I went with a well-armed party of at least a dozen, it
would be dangerous to proceed.
" The city of Lhasd is circular, with a circumference of 2J miles.
In the centre of the city stands a very large temple, called by three
different names. The idols in it are richly inlaid with gold and
" The city stands in a tolerably level plain, surrounded by moun-
tains, the level or open ground extending about 6 miles on the east,
7 on the west, 4 on the south, and 3 on the north. I accompanied
the Ladak merchant, called Lopchak, on the 7th of February, to
pay homage to the Gewaring-bo-che (the Great Lama of Tibet), in
the fort, ascending by the southern steps. A priest came out to
receive us, and we were conducted into the presence of the Gewaring-
bo-che, a fair and handsome boy of about thirteen years, seated on
a thi one six feet high, attended by two of the highest priests, each
holding a bundle of peacock feathers. To the right of this boy, and
seated on a throne three feet high, was the rajah Gyalbo-Khuro-
Gyago, his minister. Numbers of priests in reverential attitudes
were standing at a respectful distance from them. We were ordered
to be seated, and after making offerings of silks, sweets, and money,
the Lama Gftrd put us three questions, placing his hand on each of
our heads : ' Is your king well ? ' ' Does your country prosper ? '
' Are you in good health ? ' We were then served with tea, which
some drank, and others poured on their heads, and after having a
strip of silk, with a knot in it, placed by the priests round each
of our necks, we were dismissed, but many were invited to inspect
160 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1868.
the curiosities that were to be seen in the fort. The walls and
ceilings of all the chief houses in the fort, and all the temples that
contained images in gold, were covered with rich silks.
" The Lama Guru is the chief of all Tibet, but he does not inter-
fere with state business. He is looked upon as the guardian
divinity, and is supposed never to die, but transmigrates into any
body he pleases. The dead body from which the Lama Guru's soul
has departed is placed in a gold coffin studded with the finest gems,
and kept in the temple with the greatest care. The belief of the
people is that the soul of one Lama Guru is privileged to transmi-
grate thirteen times. The present Lama Guru is now in his thir-
teenth transmigration. Churtans are placed over the coffins con-
taining the Lamas' bodies, and it is said that these dead bodies
diminish in size, while the hair and nails grow.
" The rajah, or gyalbo, is next to the Lamd Guru in rank ; below
him there are four ministers, called kaskak, who conduct all state
business, under his orders. The Chinese vakeel at Lhasa, who is
called amban, has the power of reporting against either the rajah or
the four ministers to the king of China, and, if necessary, can have
them removed from office.
" The general belief of all the Tibetans is, that no sooner is the
Lama Guru born, than he speaks, and all withered plants and trees
about his birthplace at once begin to bear green leaves. The
moment news gets to the Lhasd, court of such an occurrence, then
the four ministers repair to the house, in order to ascertain the
truth by the following method : — Articles of all descriptions are
placed before the child, and he is requested to tell which belonged
to the late Lama Guru, and which did not. Should he be able to
select from the articles put before him such of those that belonged
to the Lamd Guru, then he is pronounced to be no impostor, and is
forthwith carried away to the fort of Potolah, and placed upon the
throne as Lama Guru.
" The Mahommedans of Lhasa gave me the following account as
to the selection of the future Lama Guru : — From the day of the
death of a Lama Guru all male births are recorded by the Lamas
about the city, and the ministers are secretly informed of them.
Names are given to the children, and on the thirtieth day after the
decease of a Lama Guru, slips of paper, each bearing the name of a
child born within the month, are placed in a vessel ; the chief of
the four ministers then draws out one of the slips with a pair of
pincers, and whichever child's name that bears, he is pronounced
to be the future Lama Guru. He is then taught all that is required
of him by the priests, and when they think he has come to years
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLEY. 1(>1
of discretion, the previously-narrated ceremony of the choosing of
articles is conducted. The people of Lhasd are kept in the dark as
to this method of adopting a Laina Guru. The Lhasa people are,
by strangers, supposed to adopt a Lama Guru, in order to prevent
the government of the country from falling entirely into the hands
of the Chinese.
" I observed that there was but little order and justice to be seen
" The new year of this people commences with the new moon
appearing on or about the 15th of February; they call it Lohsar.
On New Year's Eve an order from the court goes round to have
every house in the city cleaned ; the houses are swept and white-
washed, and the streets are cleaned. On the day following, each
household displays as many flags, &c, from the house-top as it can
afford. Throughout the day and night singing, dancing, and drink-
ing are kept up. On the second day of their new year all the
people of the city assemble before the Potolah fort, to witness the
following feat, performed generally by two men : — A strong rope is
fastened from the fort walls to strong rivets in the ground, 100
yards distant from the base of the fort. The two unfortunate men
then have to slide down this rope, which very often proves fatal to
them ; should they, however, survive, they are rewarded by the
court. The Lam A Guru is always a witness of the performance from
" From the commencement of the new year, whoever pays the
highest sum is considered the judge of the rajah's court, and for
twenty-three days he exercises his authority in the most arbitrary
manner possible, for his own benefit, as all fines, &c, are his by
the purchase. The purchaser of such authority must be one of the
7700 priests attached to the Debang monastery; the successful
priest is called Jalno, and announces the fact through the streets of
LhasA in person, bearing a silver stick.
" The priests attached to all the temples and monasteries in the
neighbourhood assemble in the fort, and offer homage. This assem-
bling of the priests is called Molam Chambo, and the holidays go
by the same name. The Jalno's men are now seen to go about the
streets and places, in order to discover any conduct in the inhabitants
that may be found fault with. Every house is taxed in Lh&4 at
this period, and the slightest fault is punished with the greatest
severity by fines. The severity of the Jalno drives all the working
classes out of the city, till the twenty-three days are over. The
profit gained by the Jalno is about ten times the purchase-money.
During the twenty-three days all the priests of the neighbourhood
vol. xn. o
162 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA [March 23, 1868.
congregate at the Machindranath temple, and perform religious
ceremonies. On the fifteenth day of the new year all the priests,
assemhling about M&chindranath temple, display hundreds of idols
in form of men, animals, trees, &c, and throughout the night burn
torches, which illuminate the city to a great distance. The day on
which the authority of the Jalno ceases, the rajah's troops parade
through the streets, and proclaim that the power of the rajah has
again been assumed by him. Twenty-four days after the Jalno
ceases to have authority, he again assumes it, and acts in the same
arbitrary manner as on the first occasion, for ten days, after which
authority is once more assumed by the rajah. These ten days are
called Chokchut Molam.
" On the first day the Lamas all assemble, as before, at M&chin-
dranath temple, and after a religious ceremony, invoke the assistance
of their deities, to prevent sickness, &c, among the people, and, as a
peace-offering, sacrifice one man. This man is not killed purposely,
but the ceremony he undergoes often proves fatal. Grain is thrown
against his head, and his face is painted half white, half black.
" On the tenth day of this vacation, all the troops quartered at
Lhasa march to the temple, and form line before it. The victim,
who has his face painted, is then brought forth from the temple,
and receives small donations from all the populace assembled. He
then throws the dice with the Jalno, and if the latter loses, it is
said to forebode great evil, and if not, and the Jalno wips, then it
is believed that the victim, who is- to bear the sins of all the in-
habitants of Lhdsa, has been permitted by the gods to do so. He
is then marched to the walls of the city, followed by the whole
populace, and troops hooting and shouting, and discharging volleys
after him. "When he is driven outside the city, then people return,
and the victim is carried to the S&me monastery. Should he die
shortly after this, the people say it is an auspicious sign, and if not,
he is kept a prisoner at S£me monastery for the term of a whole
year, after which he is released, and is allowed to return to Lhasa.
" The day following the banishment of the man to Same, all the
state jewels, gold and silver plate, &c, are brought out from the fort,
and carried through the streets of Lhdsd, protected by the troops
armed, and followed by thousands of spectators. Towards evening
everything is taken back to the fort, and kept as before. The day
following, immense images of the gods (formed of variegated paper,
on wooden frame-work) are dragged by men through the city, pro-
tected by armed troops. About noon the whole populace, great and
small, assemble on the plain north of the city, and publicly carouse,
race, and practise with the gun at targets. I was informed that
March 23, 1868.] AND THE UPPER BRAHMAPUTRA VALLE7. 163
the Molam Chambo and Chokchut Molam vacations, with all the
religious ceremonies and observances, were instituted from time
immemorial, but that the business of putting to the highest bid the
powers of sole and chief magistrate, dates from the tenth trans?
migration of the soul of the present L£ina Guru.
" One crop only is raised here in the year. Seed is sown in April,
and the crop is cut in September. There is no jungle hereabouts, and
excepting one thorny bush, called Sia, the hills are absolutely barren.
" A very few of the rich men's houses are built of brick and
stone, all others are of mud. Some few are built of sun-dried bricks.
The manufactures of Lhasd are woollen cloths, felt, &c.
"The water supply of Lhdsa is from wells, and a tax of two
annas on every house is imposed monthly on the inhabitants for the
use of the weljs.
" During the month of December, merchants from all parts bring
their merchandise here (from China, Tartary, Darchando, Chando,
Khan, Tawang, Bhotan, Sikkim, Nepal, Darjiling, Azimabad and
Ladak). From China, silks of all varieties, carpets and Chinaware,
From Jiling, in Tartary, is brought gold-lace, silks, precious gems,
carpets of a superior manufacture, horse-saddles, and a very large
kind of Dumba sheep, also valuable horses. From Darchando im-
mense quantities of tea — (Darchando is said to be situated north-
east of Lh£s4 and to be distant two months' journey). From Chando
city, in the Kham territory, an enormous quantity of the musk per-
fume is brought, which eventually finds its way to Europe, through
Nepal. Kice, and other grain that is foreign to Lhjlsd, is brought
from Tawang, in Bhotan. From Sikkim, rice and tobacco ; and from
Nepal, Darjiling, and Azimabad, broad-cloth, silks, satins, saddles,
precious stones, coral, pearls, sugar, spices, and a variety of Indian
commodities. Charas and saffron (k^sar) come from Ladak and
Kashmir. The merchants who come here in December, leave in
March, before the setting in of the rains renders the rivers impassable.
The inhabitants use ornaments of coral, pearls, and precious stones,
and occasionally of gold and silver, which are more especially worn
by women on their heads. Coats lined with the skins of sheep are
" During the month of December, at nights and early in the
mornings, the mercury in the thermometer sank below 32°, and
during the days never rose over 40° to 45°. The Eiver Kichu was
frozen at that time of the year, and water kept in the warmest parts
of a house, froze and burst the vessels holding it.
" The chief divinity worshipped is that of Budh.
" The food of the inhabitants consists chiefly of salted butter,
164 ROUTE-SURVEY FROM NEPAL TO LHASA. [March 23, 1868.
tea, mutton, beef, pork, and fowls. Eice is not much eaten, owing to
its nigh price, and because it is considered a fruitful source of
disease. Other edibles, such as wheat, barley, and kitchen produce,
&c, are cheap.
" To the north-east of Lhasa, distant about one month's journey,
there is a country called Kham or Nyahrong. Thousands of the
inhabitants of this country annually pay Lhasa a visit, some under
the plea of wishing to worship, while others come with the osten-
sible reason of trading, but all really come with the object of robbing
and stealing whatever they can. These people are held in terror
by all the peaceable inhabitants of the Lhasa territory, who have
named them Golok Khamba. Highway robbery and murder are
perpetrated by them without compunction. They appear to be
exempt from the wrath or punishment of the Lhasa chiefs. The
Lhasd Government never takes notice of any complaints brought
against this marauding tribe, and the reason I heard for this
silence was that the Lhasd, vakeel with government merchandise, on
his annual journey to Pekin, has to pass through the territory
appertaining to this tribe, and to insure a safe journey for these,
the Government connives at the mischief done by them in the Lhasd
territory. Another reason I heard was, that in case of a war, this
Khamba tribe would render good service.
" North of Lhasd, and four miles distant, is situated a long hill,
stretching from east to west, reported to contain immense quantities
of silver ; but a government order prohibits anyone from working
the metal. The Government itself refuses to work the metal ; for
the general belief is, that the country will be impoverished, and the
men will degenerate, should the metal be worked.
" Eegarding the disposal of their dead, the Lhasa people of the
poorer classes bind the corpses tightly with ropes, and place them
erect against the inner walls of their houses for two or three days,
while the richer and well-to-do classes detain the corpses in their
houses for a length of fourteen days : after which time priests are
invited, who pretend to read from their ritual the manner in which
these corpses are destined to be disposed. Sometimes their deci-
sion is to cut the corpse into pieces, and scatter the fragments to
the birds and beasts of prey, and sometimes to bury them. The
reason assigned by them for detaining the bodies springs from
the belief that they may become demons if disposed of without the
blessings of the priests."
The Paper will be printed entire in the ' Journal,' vol. xxxviii.
The President said that the communication was, doubtless, one of great
importance to geographers ; for although they had all from their boyhood
March 23, 1868.] DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MONTGOMERY'S PAPER. 165
known something of the great country of Tibet, and it had been visited at
intervals by Europeans during the last two or three centuries, yet no account
of its real geographical features, or of the exact position or altitude of any
place, had ever been brought before the Society prior to the present journey of
the Pundit. Missionaries reached the country in the 17th century, but no
astronomical observations were made as to the position of places. In the time
of Warren Hastings's presidency over our Indian Empire an expedition reached
Tibet, but it brought back no observations for the accurate determination of
positions. Even in so recent a time as Lord Canning's government in India,
that excellent administrator determined upon an expedition into this region,
but it was never earned into effect. It had been an opprobrium to English-
men, that though this interesting region lay at no very great distance beyond
the Himalaya Mountains, which had been admirably explored by English
surveyors, they had never yet reached Tibet. The difficulties of penetrating
the country had been forcibly described by Captain Montgomerie, without
whose admirable and ingenious contrivance of instructing an intelligent native,
and sending him in disguise, the Society would never have had this account of
the country brought before them. The latitude of Lhasa had now been
accurately determined, and this was one of the many geographical results of
the exploration. Dr. Thomson, who had received a medal from the Society
for his adventurous explorations in Ladak and the Karakorum Pass, and Dr.
Campbell, the companion of Hooker, who had, from great elevations in Sikkim,
looked over into the great region of Tibet, would be able to offer some im-
portant observations on the subject of the paper. Lord Strangford and Sir
Henry Eawlinson, Asiatic scholars, who had studied the subject for a long
time, would afterwards make some observations which would throw light not
only upon this particular region, but upon the course of the great Brahmaputra
River which flowed through the central portion of the country. Although that
river was at so short a distance from the north of our Indian possessions, its
course in passing through the Himalayan chain into Assam was not yet
denned. This was one of the great geographical problems which remained to
Db. Thomson said that he could add very little to the excellent remarks
made by the President, who had appreciated the paper in a manner which
must be most gratifying to all Himalayan travellers. He regarded with a
feeling almost of envy the success of the Pundit in exploring a region from
which Englishmen had, unfortunately, been debarred by the jealousy of the
Chinese Government. English travellers had not been prevented from pene-
trating into Chinese Tibet by a want of enterprise, but entirely by the
anxious desire of the Chinese Government to keep them out. For a long time
the whole Himalayan chain, from Cashmere on the westward to Bhotan on
the eastward, was independent of the British Government. It was only since
the beginning of the present century that certain parts of it had become
British territory; and even now Nepaul, which constituted nearly half of
the whole extent of the chain, was, as much as Chinese Tibet, forbidden
ground to English travellers, — Englishmen not being allowed to travel farther
than the capital, Kathmaudu ; and it was only persons belonging to the em-
bassy and one or two privileged persons who might be allowed to accompany
it. Travellers had, however, been " nibbling " at Tibet in all directions ;
and, fortunately, about the year 1784 — before the jealousy of the Chinese
Government had been excited by the increasing power of the English Govern-
ment in Hindustan — two official Englishmen were permitted to cross the Hima-
layan chain from Bhotan and to penetrate into Tibet as far as Shigatze and
Gyanze. The observations made by them were the only careful explorations
of Tibet Proper on record until the present aceount was given by the Pundit.
Two distinguished travellers had> however, succeeded in penetrating a few
166 DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MONTGOMERY'S PAPER. [March 23, 1868.
miles into the southern portion of the country. These were Dr. Hooker, whose
journey through Sikkim was so difficult and at the same time so successful,
and Dr. Campbell, who accompanied him. These gentlemen were able, from
the high elevation of Donkia and the mountains immediately to the north, to
look over the whole of the enormous and comparatively flat country of the
valley of the Brahmaputra ; and as nearly as they could, without knowing the
absolute distance, they measured the elevation of the immense mountains
which lay to the north of the rivery and now again seen by the Pundit. The
President had commented On most of the points of interest in the paper. The
curious lake Yamdokcho was still a vexed question ; for as the Pundit had
travelled only along one side of it, he had, as Captain Montgomerie well
remarked in the paper, not satisfied us of the nature of the island which was
said to occupy nearly its whole area. There was another lake marked to
the westward, but about which there was also some doubt. It was evidently
put down from native observations.
De. Campbell expressed his admiration of the extraordinary courage, per-
severance, and zeal of the Pundit traveller. "When he (Dr. Campbell) entered
Tibet he was nearly murdered, having been seized, beaten, and imprisoned
by order of the Sikkim chiefs, who had political objects of their own ; but the
officials who carried these intentions into effect had used violence with the
desire of propitiating the Chinese authorities at Lhasa, with whom they were
always intriguing. He travelled with Dr. Hooker over a pass, the elevation
of which was 18,500 feet, and went twenty miles beyond into the interior of
Tibet. The country was perfectly bare and nearly level. They ascended the
hill called Bhomtso, and from that elevation they could distinctly see the
beautiful mountain of Chomalari to the east, which was described by Turner,
who penetrated as far as Shigatze. To the north and west they could see a
very high range of mountains, which he believed had never before been
noticed ; but their observations on this subject were recorded in Dr. Hooker's
journal. The Pundit said that this elevated range ran for 120 miles parallel
to his route. Dr. Hooker, from the elevation on which he stood (at 18,500 feet),
estimated it to be at least 24,000 feet.. It must be gratifying to Dr. Hooker
now to find the Pundit had confirmed his conjectural geography. There was
one point in the Pundit's account which was of great scientific interest, but
still rather obscure. He stated that on approaching the Yamdokcho Lake he
was informed the island which it contained occupied nearly the whole area
of the lake, and he put it down at 16,000 feet high, giving the elevation of
the lake itself at 13,000 feet above the level of the sea. The diameter of the
island he stated to be two miles. He (Dr. Campbell) did not know what angle
would be formed by a peak rising 3000 on a base of two miles diameter ; but
the information which he had obtained from native travellers at Darjeeling
— hundreds of whom he had questioned — did not quite correspond with the
statement of the Pundit. The island, according to them, did not fill the
whole lake, only a corner of it. The island was frequently visited by pilgrims
and others. Travellers also asserted that the water of the lake was brackish
and dangerous to drink, but the Pundit maintained that it was sweet and
good. In reference to the description of the election of the Grand Lama, it
was scarcely credible that such an event should be so simply determined as
by the throwing of the names of children into a hat, and the drawing of one
name. He had known the office in less important monasteries than Lhasa to
be vacant for years, in consequence of the whole body of Lamas being unable,
through motives of self-interest or policy, to arrive at a decision.
Lord Stbakgfokd said that Dr. Campbell had anticipated the chief portion
of what he had to say. He had been for some time acquainted with the ex-
cellent paper which Dr. Campbell had written in the Journal of the Asiatic
Society of Bengal, which gave an account of the country between Lhasa and
Makch 23, 1868.] DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MONTGOMERY'S PAPER. 167
Bhotan. Dr. Campbell had not visited the country himself, but his account
of it was one of the best instances which he (Lord Strangford) knew of rigorously
critical exposition of merely hearsay information. It gave a most accurate
delineation of the country, as was shown by the map annexed to the paper —
the lake, however, being represented without that island girt with the ring
now fully verified by the Pundit. The general impression of Tibet was that of
a country ending two or three degrees eastward of Lhasa, and differing in its
physical features from the country to the east : its table-land being there broken
up by a succession of rivers and mountain ranges running north and south.
There was no longer a system of plateaux and valleys bounded by low moun-
tain ranges rising from an enormously high level ; but, so far as was known,
there were precipitous and frightful mountain ranges in a parallel series bound-
ing the upper streams of great rivers flowing into China, or due south into Cam-
bodia, or the Brahmaputra. This general impression is more or less correct as
regards the physical geography of that country ; ethnologically, however, or
rather socially and politically, the whole of the country lying to the westward
of China might more properly be divided by a line from east to west than one
from north to south. The entire north of that line was Tibetan in language, but
was inhabited by wild tribes and robbers ; while the south was in just the same
category as Tibet Proper, and its social condition was precisely analogous to
that of the Lhasa country. The capital of this country is called Tsiamdo,
corresponding to the Pundit's name of Chando, and its distance from Lhasa,
given by him as a month's journey, corresponds with the thirty-five days'
journey assigned it by the Chinese and Nepaulese itineraries. The province is
called Kham, and it falls into the two divisions of settled and nomadic in just
the same way as the province of U, or Tibet Proper, of which Lhasa is the capital.
He had thought a great deal over the place mentioned as Jiling, without being
able to identify it, and he could only suppose that the articles of trade men-
tioned in connection with it indicated that it belonged to a civilised country.
He could not understand anything about that place, unless it were some part of
China Proper,* the only country in the neighbourhood capable of manufacturing
articles such as described.
In explanation of these statements he would refer to what had been before
communicated to the world on this subject. The first authority was a Chinese
work which appeared to have been written about the year 1780, and purported
to be a detailed description of Tibet. It was translated into Euss by the Archi-
mandrite Hyacinth. It had never appeared in an English form ; but it had
been translated into French by the celebrated traveller Klaproth, and had been
printed in the French ' Journal Asiatique:' It had formed the pocket com-
panion of the missionaries when they retraced the southern road ; and they
stated that they found it accurate. Their text would give the reader to under-
stand that they travelled with the Chinese original in hand, which had been
presented to them on their journey ; and no doubt they did ; but entire pas-
sages which they quote are given verbatim in Klaproth's words, as translated
in the ' Journal Asiatique.' It was thus adopted and vouched for by Hue and
Gabet, but then there arose the question, " Who will vouch for Hue and Gabet ?"
The necessary link was supplied by Mr. Bryan Hodgson, who was for some
time resident in Kathmandu, in a most valuable contribution to the ' Journal
of the Bengal Asiatic Society.' His paper was given him by the Maharajah of
Nepaul as a keepsake, the donor knowing that it would be more appreciated
* Dr. Campbell suggested to the speaker that there was a Chinese town, called
Tchiling-foo, on the north-western frontier of that country. In this case Jiling,
orTchiling, could hardly be other than the city of Sininfoo, close to the Koko Nor,
on the Himalayan frontier — the north-eastern entrance of China from Tibet,
as the city of Tachindo is the due eastern.
168 DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MONTGOMERY'S PAPER. [March 23, 1868.
by a man of science than any more material gift. It was an account of two
embassies between Pekin and Kathmandu. It was a dry enumeration of the
stages, the names of places, stations, bridges, fords, and mountains, and gave
in a general way the features of the country. He (Lord Strangford) had gone
through this paper and compared it throughout with the Chinese document
translated in the ' Journal Asiatique,' and he found that the bulk of the names
of the places described in the two papers were virtually identical. This was
the more wonderful because the names were transcribed, on the one hand, from
Chinese, which was a very difficult language for the expression of proper
names, and, on the other hand, from Nepaulese. Hue and Gabet took thirty-
five days on their journey to Chando in Kham, for example, while the Embassy
route specified thirty-six stages ; the various points being as regularly laid
down as the stations of the North-Western Railway. The Chinese terminus of
this road, so utterly unknown and unfixed as it is when taken as a whole, yet
so minutely specified in its details, is the city called by the Embassy Tachindo,
by the Chinese itinerary Ta-tsien-leu, and evidently the Pundit's Darchando.
His Darchando is clearly this western frontier town of China, where there
is a custom-house for arrivals from Tibet, and a fair held once a year as a
tea-mart. Hue and Gabet described an iron bridge which was crossed at a
certain time of the year. During the other portion of the year boats were used.
In all these details there was a sort of omnilateral verification, and they consti-
tute a very curious case of coincident information. The name of Golok
Khamba, which was given to the robbers, was identical with the name which
Hue and Gabet gave to the robbers on the north-east road. These robbers
were called Kolo by Hue and Gabet, and were described as a most formidable
impediment to trade. Khamba means people of Kham, the province due north
of which would be the haunt of these robbers, who appear to infest the whole
of these countries everywhere, if it be the case, as the Pundit says, that they
flock to Lhasa in thousands in disguise as worshippers, and steal right and
left. The Pundit's Nyahrong is the name of a tribe which was placed in
exactly the same locality by Mr. Bryan Hodgson under the name of Gyarung.
Hodgson was fortunate enough to meet with some natives of those inaccessible
regions in Nepaul, where he measured the men from top to toe, and chronicled
the colour of their hair and eyes and other features. He also took down their
language, and compiled a very full grammar of it. The names by which the
Tibetans knew the neighbouring countries, as yet impervious to us, helped to
illustrate the ethnology of those countries. The Turks were there known by the
name of Hor-pa, and the Mongolians by that of Sok-pa. The extent of the
Mongolian settlements was known by the prevalence of the names significant
in their language. Hue and Gabet mentioned that they crossed what he
thought might be the Eastern analogue of the great Pamir plateau on the west,
which appeared, when seen from the south, to be a high snowy range ; but
only after travelling about ten or twelve days were they able to clear it.
They thus described it as a plateau rather than a range, and also as being, in
their belief, the highest level ground on the earth. That opinion was also
expressed by many other authorities. He (Lord Strangford) highly appreciated
the praiseworthy sagacity and energy of Captain Montgomerie in conceiving
and carrying out such a brilliant scheme as the special education of natives
for the purpose of visiting countries which were inaccessible to Europeans; and
he congratulated the Society upon the. splendid and fruitful harvest of scientific
result which had been yielded at the first sowing of the good seed.
Sir Henry Rawlinson said he re-echoed the tribute of gratitude and
admiration which Lord Strangford had expressed as due to Capt. Montgomerie.
The value of native assistance was recognised from a very early period of our
Indian empire ; and native agency in the East had been employed from the
time of Sir John Malcolm and Mr. Elphinstone for the purpose of acquiring
March 23, 1808.] DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MONTGOMERY'S PAPER. 169
political and statistical information. It was, however, reserved for Capt.
Montgomerie to utilise the native element in another direction. It was he
who first appreciated the capacity of the natives as scientific observers, and
discovered that they could use a sextant and a theodolite as well as Europeans.
That was really a most valuable discovery, which would enable geographers to
make great advances in knowledge, by placing at their disposal surveyors
who could be employed along our whole northern frontier in the solution of
otherwise insoluble problems. There were in the paper a few points which he
thought it desirable to explain popularly to the meeting. In the first place,
he was constantly asked, " What is a pundit ? " A pundit was not a very
mysterious personage. The word simply meant one who had read the
" shasters " or sacred books of the Hindoos. A pundit was simply then an
educated Hindoo^ He would be very valuable for the Buddhist countries, but
he would be utterly useless in Mahommedan countries. When Capt. Mont-
gomerie had to explore Mahommedan countries he very properly made use of
a Mahommedan assistant in his survey. Last year the Society had from Capt.
Montgomerie a very valuable communication, showing how by the aid of a
Mussulman attached to the survey he had been able to connect Yarkand with
the trigonometrical survey. At present all that had been done — and this was
a very great step in advance — had been to survey the immediate line beyond
our northern frontier ; but in process of time they would extend their explo-
rations and survey an outer line. The only considerable part of Asia which
was now unknown, and which was unknown not only to the English and to
the Russians, but even to the Chinese, was the country intervening in a
direct line between Khotan and Lhasa. He hoped that the exploration of that
country was reserved for English enterprise, or native enterprise directed by
English intelligence. There was also another very interesting problem which
must be solved sooner or later, and the sooner the better, namely, the course of
the River Brahmaputra. It had been followed down carefully from its source
in the Mansarowar Lake to Lhasa ; but the part below Lhasa, where it turned
to the south and descended through the mountain range to the plains of India,
was still a mystery. It had never been visited. The Pundit would have
attempted the journey if he had had a proper supply of money ; but for want
of funds he was unable to obtain an escort, and without that it would have
been quite impossible to perform the journey. The route of the Pundit was
not an absolutely new line, that is he was not the first traveller who had
passed from Ladak to Lhasa. The line was partly travelled indeed by
Andrada in the seventeenth century, and it was completely followed from one
end to the other by Father Desideri in a.d. 1715 ; but the accounts of those
travellers were sadly wanting in geographical interest. The most important
feature, for instance, in Desideri's account was his description of the way in
which he crossed the rivers, by holding on to a cow's tail. Having nothing else
to commemorate, he filled pages of his narrative in insisting on the absolute
necessity of cows to enable travellers to cross the rivers. Such was the style
of geographical record and description with which the Jesuit accounts teemed.
It was different with the English officers who were sent to Tibet by Warren
Hastings. Mr. Bogle unfortunately died before he could publish the narrative
of his journey ; but his assistant, Mr. Stuart, communicated some details ; and
Major Turner, who led a subsequent mission to Tibet, had left a very valuable
record of his observations, which were of the greatest importance both to
geography and science. He (Sir Henry Rawlinson) had sometimes heard
such explorations as those of the Pundit characterised as a useless and unjustifi-
able risk of life foi the mere gratification of curiosity. He protested against
any such doctrine ; he maintained that the geographical discovery which was
encouraged by the Society was not a mere dilettante object, or "one pursued
merely for the purpose of producing a sensation at the Geographical Society.
170 DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MONTGOMERIE'S PAPER. [March 23, 1868.
On the contrary, they encouraged explorations in Central Asia or Central
Africa for a tangible purpose. Geographical discovery led to the spread of
civilisation and general intelligence, and even to material advantage in the
advancement of commerce and trade. He thus honestly believed that the
Pundit's travels in Tibet had paved the way for the extension of our trade
in that direction, and might hereafter prove of very great importance. There
was, indeed, at the present time before the Geographical Society a paper by
Mr. Forsythj which pointed out the immense value of the countries beyond
where the Pundit had been travelling in regard to the export and import trade
of India. All that part of Asia formerly belonged to China, and was subjected
to the same rigorous exclusiveness which was now practised in Tibet ; but
during the last three or four years Turkestan had become independent, and
the intercourse with China was cut off. Now in that country they were
desperate tea-drinkers, and drank that beverage morning, noon, and night;
but since their rupture with China they were at their wit's end bow to procure
their tea. At the present time, indeed, tea grown in China,, and intended for
the country of which he was speaking, was first taken down to the coast,
then round India to Bombay ; thence it went to Kurrachee ; thence up the
Punjaub to Lahore ; from Lahore it passed to Bokhara ; from Bokhara it went
on to Kashgar ; and in that way only did it arrive at its destination. Now if
Tibet and the neighbouring countries were thoroughly explored and civilised
the tea might penetrate from India, if not from China, into Turkestan, by
a hundred different channels. In return for the tea again there might be ex-
ported the Turf an wool which was produced in that country. It was the finest
wool in the world, and was far better fitted than the produce of Tibet for the
looms that wove the Cashmere shawls. It was almost impossible now to get
the genuine wool in India, and consequently the weavers of the Punjaub
diluted their wool with a Persian material from Kerman, which was much
inferior, and the Cashmere shawls had in consequence greatly deteriorated in
quality. Under the auspices of British geographers both trades might be
improved. We might be able to supply the Turkestanis with tea, and they
might be able to supply us in exchange with Turfan wool. He mentioned this
case to show that there were practical advantages attending geographical
exploration, and that it was not pursued in a mere dilettante spirit or for a
mere visionary object. It would in reality prove of very great value in im-
proving the social state of the East. The Pundit had further remarked upon
the long stages of the road between Ladak and Lhasa, and had stated that the
Tibetans kept up a very regular and rapid communication. It appeared,
however, that they took 35 days to travel 800 miles, a rate of progress which
any Eastern traveller who had been accustomed to ride post in Turkey and
Persia would regard as perfectly childish. The regular Tartar rate of tra-
velling was 100 miles a day, and this rate was kept up for fourteen or fifteen
days in succession if necessary. Sir Henry had himself on several occasions
ridden " Tartar " between Baghdad and Samson, and between Teheran and
Meshed at this rate, and there was on record an instance of a famous Turkish
courier, named Mustafa, having ridden from Constantinople to Demawend,
beyond Teheran, a distance of 1700 miles in fourteen days, bringing to Sir
Henry Willock the intelligence of Napoleon's escape from Elba. In these
journeys the courier is never allowed to take any regular sleep, though he
dozes sometimes on horseback. As to the use of the "prayer-wheel," he
might explain that the prayer to be offered was pasted inside the wheel, so
that turning round the wheel was equivalent to saying the prayer, and in
this way an entire service might be got through in five minutes. The practice
was an illustration of the ordinary tendency of the Tibetans to avoid trouble
as far as possible.
Mb. Ckawftjrd said that he agreed entirely with the eulogium which had
March 23, 1868.] DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MONTGOMERY'S PAPER. 171
been passed upon the Pundit, and more particularly with that upon Captain
Montgomerie, who educated him for the work. A pundit meant simply a
learned man. But he must be a Brahmin. He (Mr. Crawfurd) had read that
morning an account, written by a pundit, of the greatest native battle ever
fought in India, that of Paniput. He strongly recommended its perusal.
It was to be found in vol. iii. of the 'Transactions of the Asiatic So-
ciety of Bengal.' He was at a loss to understand where the commerce of
Tibet was to be found. The country was a very poor and very sterile one.
The only valuable thing which it produced was a shawl-wool, and of this the
Brahmin took no notice. The wool which Sir Henry Bawlinson had men-
tioned as being of an excellent quality was only goat's hair. Their tea had
been mentioned as being produced somewhere in Tartary. It was Chinese and
horrible trash, and would produce a wash that would turn the stomach of a
hog. He did not consider that the route which was described by Sir Henry for
the transport of tea would be superior to the existing one.
Mb. T. Saunders stated that there was now no difficulty in obtaining the
consent of the Chinese Government for any European to pass the British
frontier into Tibet. He gave that information on the authority of Mr. Consul
Morrison, who was thoroughly familiar with Chinese matters, and who had
assured him that the restrictions existing on the Chinese frontier were only
such as would exist on any frontier where passports were demanded. Pass-
ports might be readily obtained at Peking simply for asking. That fact was
important, as it might spare the Pundit the necessity of risking his life in
future explorations.* The latitude ascribed to Lhasa by the Pundit cor-
* The following memorandum on this subject has been communicated to the
Secretary by Mr. Morrison : — " It is to be regretted that the Topographical Depart-
ment in India, under a mistaken supposition that the Chinese Government dislike
foreigners to travel in their country, have thought it necessary to send agents
across the Chinese frontier to make surveys in a clandestine manner, instead of
openly Travelling in China and Tartary is now perfectly easy and safe for
British subjects provided with passports, and in their proper characters ; but the
want of passports must generally cause the detention of travellers, while the
assumption of false characters (especially on the part of surveyors) must tend to
excite suspicions in the minds of the Chinese, injurious to the friendly and con-
fidential relations which have now subsisted for seven years between the British
and the Chinese Governments.
" Since 1861 many British subjects, Americans, Frenchmen, Germans and
Russians, have every year travelled over a large extent of eastern and central
China and Tartary without meeting the slightest hindrance or molestation.
"The friendly disposition towards foreigners, equally of Chinese, Tartars, and
Tibetans, is abundantly described in the books of Turner, Hue, Fortune, and
" Although persons may travel Safely in China or Tartary without knowing the
language of the country, the knowledge of at least a few words would be useful
to enable travellers to dispel groundless fears, which sometimes are a cause of
difficulty; This was exemplified in the case of Mr. Bickmore, whose paper was
lately read before the Geographical Society.
" The stoppage at the frontier of travellers without passports need not be con-
sidered to indicate hostility to foreigners. It is done simply in compliance with
municipal regulations, which are enforced more strictly against Chinese them-
selves than against foreigners. The restrictions on Europeans have been imposed,
not by the Chinese, but by their own governments, in the interest of order, and to
prevent a trade of very great value being jeopardised by the misconduct of evil-
" That the Chinese Government does not entertain towards foreigners the jealousy
often ascribed to it, is proved by its readiness to employ foreigners in positions of
trust, and where scientific qualifications are demanded. The present chief of the
Chinese Maritime Customs is a British subject, having under him a staff of
172 DISCUSSION ON CAPT. MOKTGOMEEIE'S PAPER. [March 23, 1868.
responded within three minutes of that reported by Williams. The course of
the great Sampu Eiver in the maps by D'Anville and the Jesuit missionaries,
was well confirmed by the labours of the Pundit.
The Pbesident, in concluding the Meeting, stated that he could not more
appropriately close the proceedings than by reading portions of a letter which
he had received a few days ago from Captain Montgomerie. He wrote as
follows : —
" My DEAR Sib RoBEBICK, " Camp, Jugboorn, 29th Jan., 1868.
"I hope, by the time this reaches London, you will have received a copy
of my Report on Trans-Himalayan Explorations, which Colonel Walker pro-
mised to send to you when ready.
" The explorations have been made on the plan which I initiated a few
years ago, and of which I gave you the first results in the expedition by which
the position and height of Yarkund were determined. The fruits ef the
present expedition are, I think, an improvement on those of the last, as they
embrace a much larger tract of country.
" I hope the route surveyed will form a fairly accurate basis for the whole
of Tibet, or of Great Tibet, as it is generally applied to the Lhasa territories.
" I wish I could present the Pundit to you in person. I am sure he would
make a good impression anywhere, and I can quite understand his being an
immense favourite with the Ladakis who convoyed him into the Sacred City.
Without their assistance he would have found it a very much more difficult
matter than he did, though it was difficult enough in every way. The Pundit,
I think, deserves all praise ; his work has stood every test capitally. The
latitude observations are undeniably good, and in that respect the position of
Lhasa is well within half a minute of the correct value. The longitude may
be said to be true within about a quarter of a degree, and the height, 11,700
feet, some 200 or 300 feet probably in defect. Considering the great distance
traversed, the longitude could hardly be much closer. The height has never
been determined before ; the latitude, even in Mr. Keith Johnston's last
atlas, was given about one degree and a half in excess, if I remember right ;
while the longitude derived from the side of British India was nearer the
" The old maps of Great Tibet give a great deal of detail, and they were
supposed to be relatively correct in longitude, and to be tolerably correct in
latitude. The Pundit's work, however, shows that this view was incorrect,
and the old maps are not even tolerably correct in latitude. Some geographers
had come to this conclusion a good many years ago, as they found that they
could not reconcile the positions of Shigatze and Lhasa, as derived from
Turner, with the positions assigned to those places in the old maps. The con-
sequence was they omitted all details north of the Himalayas. This was going
to the other extreme : for, judging by the Pundit's work, we may conclude
that the old maps do, in a general sort of way, represent the large features,
several hundreds of Europeans. The arsenal at Nanking and the dockyard at
Foochow are respectively under British and French officers. One hundred and
fifty years ago the great survey of the empire (au admirable one for the period)
was made for the Chinese Government by European (chiefly French) mathema-
ticians, who were allowed to send copies of it freely to Europe.
" It cannot be doubted that the Chinese Government would now be perfectly
wiiling, if the proceeding were suggested to them, to undertake conjointly with
the British Government an exploration to discover practicable routes between the
Chinese territories and British India. They would no more object to an overland
traffic by such routes than they have ever done to the traffic with Russia through
Mongolia, or to that with Corea, Cochin-china, and Burmah. — M. C. Morrison,
April 27, 1868.] ACCESSIONS TO LIBRARY AND MAP-ROOM. 173
though the accuracy, even relatively, is very small. The old maps, in fact,
appear to have been compiled from eye-sketches supplied by the Lamas, and
put together by other people as they received them, without any means of
supplying accuracy. I should very much doubt if there was any attempt to
determine the latitudes by the Lamas, and, as far as is known, no observations
were taken in Tibet by any of the Jesuit missionaries ; the said missionaries
did, however, take the latitudes of several of the cities of Eastern Turkistan,
and hence it was naturally concluded that they had done the same for Tibet.
" The shape of the Great Yamdokcho Lake was always a puzzle to me, but
the Pundit saw more than half of it, and vows that it is of much the same
shape as shown in old maps, viz. a narrow ring of water encircling a very
large island. I am not aware of any other lake like it, and, as the Pundit did
not go all the way round, it may be urged that it is doubtful ; but all' evidence
on the subject is unanimous, or very nearly so.
" The road along the top of the Himalayas, at an average height of say
14,000 feet for 800 miles, is not a line which people would imagine commerce
to be carried along ; yet it is said to have been in use for centuries. The
Pundit's ancestors were Budhists, and hence you can easily imagine his
feelings when ushered into the Great Lama's presence, with his prayer-wheel
stuffed with survey-notes and an English compass in his sleeve. Fortunately,
he was not very closely examined ; and, finding that his thoughts were not
divined, he regained his nerve, and managed to take the dimensions of the
Great Lama's residence and fort as he returned from the audience. I have
given the Pundit's observations and measurements in full, so any one that
wishes can examine into the merits of the work themselves.
" I have concluded my Report with a separate memorandum on the Brahma-
putra River, which you may perhaps think worth discussing separately. I am
trying to extend the explorations northward into the great blank between the
Himalayas, Russia, and China Proper; and some day I hope to get a route
carried down the great river from Lhasa to well-known parts of the world.
" Hoping the Pundit's labours may prove acceptable to the Geographical
" I am yours very truly,
" T. G. MONTSOMEEIB."
Tenth, Meeting, AprU 27th, 1868.
Sir EODERICK I. MUBCHISON, Bart., k.c.b., President, in
Ejections. — Captain W. B. Colvin ; Lieutenant A. Combe ; the Right
Son. Lord F. H. Kerr; Lieutenant W. S. A. Lockhart, 14th Beng. Cav. ;
Lieutenant Cecil W. E. Murphy, r.a. ; Brigadier-General William L.
Merewether, c.b. ; William C. Scott, Esq.; Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey
Tower; William Richard Winch, Esq.; F. T. Worsely-Benison, Esq.
Accessions to the Library, March 23rd to April 27th, 1868. —
Tod's 'Travels in Western India,' 1839. Boisgeslin's 'Malta,'
1805. Wicquefort'e ' Voyages,' 1727. Olearius' ' Voyages Celebrex'
1727. Mendez Pinto's ' Historia Oriental,*- 1627. ' Voyages of M.
Pinto,' 1645. Russell's * Aleppo,' 1794. Thevenot's 'Voyages,'
174 CAPTURE OF MAGDALA. [April 27, 1868.
1683. Doolittle's 'Social Life of the Chinese,' 1866. Ellis'
'Madagascar Eevisited,' 1867. Knox's 'Ceylon,' 1817. Harkness'
' Neilgherry Hills.' Prinsep's ' Thibet,' 1852. Godet's ' Bermuda.'
Charlevoix's 'Paraguay,' 1769. All purchased. Hughes' 'Class-
book for Physical Geography,' 1868. Donor, the author. W. L.
Jordan's '"Vis inertias," and a New Theory of the Tides,' 1868.
Donor, the author. Ker Porter's "■■ Travels in Persia,' 1820. Donor,
the Eev. T. C. Thornton.
Accessions to the Map-room since the last Meeting. — Ordnance
Maps, on various scales ; 980 sheets. Presented by the War Office,
through Sir Henry James, e.e. A valuable collection of District
Maps of India, in the Bengal Presidency, &c, 55 inches. Presented
by Major J. Baillie, Bengal Staff. Map of part of Abyssinia, show-
ing the progress of the British army. Presented by the War Office,
through Sir Henry James, e.e. Map of the South-Eastern part of
Abyssinia, from Addigerat to Magdala ; also one from Tekonda to
Addigerat, showing the fortress of Magdala. Presented by Dr. A.
The following telegram relating to the recent victory of the British army
in Abyssinia was read by the President : —
" 26th April, 1868.
'' Frorn the President and Council of the Berlin Oesellschaft fir Erdhunde, to
Sir Roderick Murchiscm, President of the Royal Geographical Society.
" By despatch of Colonel Beauchamp Walker we receive, on celebrating the
fortieth anniversary of our foundation, the telegraphic news of Magdala being
taken ; and we present our congratulations to the Royal Geographical Society
for this new success of British valour, benefiting geographical science."
In announcing the receipt of letters from Dr. Livingstone, which were about
to be read, the pREsroENT said that in January last, when by the return of the
Livingstone Search-Expedition his prediction respecting the great traveller
was verified, and it had been ascertained, through the successful labours of
Mr. Young and his associates, that Livingstone had not been killed near Lake
Nyassa, he was so unwell that he could only express to the Society by letter
the intense joy and gratification he experienped at this result. Now, indeed,
we had fresh grounds for rejoicing — now that we had in our hands letters
from Livingstone himself, written four months after the time when the deceit-
ful scoundrels of Johanna said he was killed, and 400 miles to the north of the
spot where, as the lying Moosa declared, he saw him fall under the axe of a
Zulu Caffre. He (the President) had already had an ample reward in receiving
the thanks of the Society for having seen through the false story of the Johanna
deserters which produced such wide distress, and for having unflinchingly per-
severed in his endeavour to induce Her Majesty's Government to send out that
expedition which brought to us the joyful tidings. He felt certain that
Livingstone would succeed in exploring the interior of Africa ; for he knew
how to calculate upon his undaunted perseverance, his iron frame, and above
all upon that peculiar gift which he so eminently possesses of attaching to
him, wherever he goes, the Negro as his true friend. So, therefore, when it
was reported by Arab traders who reached the east coast, that a white man
April 27, 1868.] LETTER FROM DK. LIVINGSTONE. 175
had been seen to the south of the Lake Tanganyika, he felt sure that that
man must be Livingstone, and now we have the proof of it in his own
handwriting. After the reading of the despatches and letters, he would
review the three possible routes which Livingstone might follow, and specu-
late upon the time which may elapse under each of these conditions, before he
might, under Providence, bring his glorious labours to a happy end.
The following Letters from find Despatches relating to Dr.
Livingstone were then read : —
1. Letter to Sib Eoderick Mukchison.
" My dbab Sib Roderick, " Bemba, 2pd February, 1867.
" This is the first opportunity I have had of sending a letter to the coast, and.
it is by a party of black Arab slave-traders from Bagamoyo, near Zanzibar.
They had penetrated here for the first time, and came by a shorter way than,
we did. In my despatch to Lord Clarendon I give but a meagre geographical
report, because the traders, would not stay more than half a day ; but, having
written that through the night, I persuaded them to give me an hour or twq
this morning, and if yours is fuller than his Lordship's you will knpw how to,
manage. I mentioned to him that I could not go round the nprthern end of
Lake Nyassa, because the Johanna men would have fled at first sight of
danger ; and they did actually flee, on the mere report of the acts of the
terrible Mazitu, at its squthern extremity. Had I got them fairly beyond the
lake, they would have stuck to me ; but so long as we had Arab slave-parties
passing us they were not to be depended on, and they were such inveterate
thieves it was quite a relief to get rid of them, though my following was
reduced thereby to nine African boys, freed ones, from a school at Nassick,
Bombay. X intended to cross at the middle of the lake, but all the Arabs (at
the crossing station) fled as soon as they heard that the English were coming,
and the owners of two dhows now on the lake kept them out of sight lest I
should burn them as slavers. I remained at the town of Mataka, which is on
the watershed between the sea-coast and the lake, and about 50 miles from
the latter. There are at least a thousand houses [in the town], and Mataka is
the most powerful chief in the country. I was in his district, which extends
to the lake, from the middle of July to the end of September. He was
anxious that some of the liberated boys should remain with him, and I tried
my best to induce them, but in vain. He wished to be shown how to make
use of his cattle in agriculture ; I promised to try and get some other boys,
acquainted with Indian agriculture, for him. This is the best point I have
seen for an influential station ; and Mataka showed some sense of right when
his people went, without his knowledge, to plunder at a part of the lake, —
he ordered the captives and cattle to be sent back. This was his own spon-
taneous act, and it took place before our arrival ; but I accidentally saw the
strangers. They consisted of fifty-four women and phildren, about a dozen
boys, and thirty head of cattle and calves. I gave him a trinket in memory
of his good conduct, at which he was delighted, for it bad not been without
opposition that he carried out his orders, and he showed the token of my
approbation in triumph.
" Leaving the shores of the lake we endeavoured to ascend Kirk's range, but
the people below were afraid of those above, and it was only after an old
friend, Katosa or Kiemasura, had turned out with his wives to carry our extra
loads that we got up. It is only the edge of a plateau peopled by various
tribes of Manganja, who had never been engaged in slaving ; in fact they had
driven away a lot of Arab slave-traders a short time before. We used to think
them all Maravi, but Katosa is the only Maravi chief we know. The Kan-
thunda, or climbers, live on the mountains that rise out of the plateau. The